Govt, Opposition agree to set up oversight committee to look into PIA affairs

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PIA being upgraded, no intention to privatize: Sardar Mehtab

ISLAMABAD, Dec 9 (APP): The Opposition and the treasury benches Wednesday agreed to constitute a joint oversight committee of the Parliament to look into the affairs of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), sufaced after promulgation of the Ordinance.
It was resolved that the committee would be briefed by the Chairman Privatization Commission while representatives of PIA’s unions and associations also would be invited.
Sharing the details of meeting with the Opposition in the Speaker Chamber’s, Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Mohammad Ishaq Dar said some misperception were surfaced due to promulgation of the ordinance.

He said the ordinance promulgated was not meant for privatization of PIA but to convert the national flag carrier into a corporate entity. Dar said that the government owned 85 per cent of its shares and under the ordinance PIA was converted into a corporate entity
and would be run under the 1984 Companies Ordinance Act.

He said there would be no compromise on employees’ rights besides no change in its assets, liabilities, sovereign guarantee and shareholders etc. “No employee will be laid off and their
status, rights and packages will remain same,”he said.Dar said that the PIA losses had reached to around Rs.295 billion and under the restructuring plan, the number of aircrafts
had been increased from 18 to 38 in last two years.

Presently, the in-time performance of PIA stood at 82 per cent against 50 per cent in the past owing to its restructuring.He assured that Roosevelt Hotel, its profitable catering
service, engineering etc departments would not be privatized.

The minister said that there were profitable routes but other airlines were taking benefit due to less aircraft in the PIA fleet.Earlier, leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah
said that the government has assured that PIA was not being privatized.

He said that Parliament is the supreme institution and all decisions should be taken at this august forum. He said that it was agreed that a committee comprising members from National Assembly and Senate would be set up to look into the matter.

Shah Mehmood of PTI said the reservation of PIA employees should be removed as the people witnessed bitter experience of privatization in the past.Iqbal Muhammad Ali Khan of MQM said in past employees were fired from PTCL, MCB, ABL after their privatization.

Sheikh Rashid was of the view that in past all privatization remained unsuccessful, adding that every one wanted to make PIA a best and profit-earning airlines.Sahibzada Tariq Ullah and Ghulam Ahmed Bilour said that all stakeholders should be taken on board for revival of PIA.